Wednesday, 30 December 2009

... a new type of gold.

Insane Sane.

Every Monday, my friend and I go down to the beach before sunset. We kick off our shoes and lay back in the sand so we can watch the black turn to navy turn to orange then turn to the seemingly tiny spark on the horizon.
We watch the stars in the black.
The moon in the navy.
The birds in the orange.
Then we bathe in the sun that shines on the both of us, alone and nothing else matters.

It's then that we stand up and walk along the shore with the metal detector in hand, searching for that hidden treasure. We do this because if we can find treasure then we can find perfection; it's the same odds.
Like metal detectors, friendships and loves are one of the only things in life that can maintain your childhood optimism; the thought that somewhere, out there, there is something or someone better waiting for you.

“What can turn the sane insane would turn the insane sane.”
Now my friend and I, our friendship has a common bond that ties us together and that is the belief that the thing that makes or breaks your mental state is the uncertainty of people.
It's the belief that with relationships, every time you think you've found something it just turns out to be another bottle cap in the sand. You hear the beep and your heart skips a beat but at closer inspection you realise it's just not what you're looking for.
You're looking for gold. For beauty. For rarity.
So all you can do with the bottle cap is to recycle it; send it off for someone else so that they can find a better use for it.
And so, you keep on walking, coming across new bottle caps and small change. The optimism keeps you going, but let's face it, everything worth finding was found years ago and all that remains are the recyclables.
But then again, it's man who decided the worth of gold and the worth of the bottle caps.
We have this built-in ideal for beauty and function but the stakes are getting higher and higher with every turn of every decade.
It seems to be forgotten that these recyclable trinkets serve a purpose yet gold no longer does.
We rid ourselves of people because they can't compete with what we think we deserve. But nothing in life is easy, so what should make love any different? Besides, no one likes simplicity, if everything was easy then we'd have nothing to talk about because nothing would surprise you. Communication plays a big role in friendship and love, so if it was simple, then we'd have no need for other people.
Because of man and everything we've done, gold comes at a price that isn't deserving.

This is why my friend and I walk. We walk to remind ourselves to stay close to the ground.
We walk for the company.
We walk to find gold because we know we'll never find it.
And if we never do then I'll be perfectly happy knowing that I have already found my treasure.
In him.
My bottle cap in the sand.

And with this i give you a new type of gold.

Monday, 28 December 2009

... a weather forecast.

The Weather Man.

My next door neighbour controls the weather.
He's an old man who mentally still lives in the year 1987.
I live in the year 2009.
He is 102 years old.
Now we all know he's knocking on deaths door, we can tell because on his day off the weather is always so neutral. It's not sunny but it's not gloomy. At least this way we know he's not in pain, but with each week that the temperature drops just a little, we all share the same look of a sad uncertainty.
The weather man has been around since before I was born so the story of how his gift was realised is a little blurry. Some say that when he was younger he asked people to challenge his gift by sitting in the centre of the town square listening to the stories and jokes of the towns people. They say that with every story heard, rays of sunshine would pour onto them shortly followed by rain until the whole sky was lit up with rainbow upon glorious rainbow.
Others say that he confided in a friend and the next morning was greeted with such scepticism that he burst into tears while the heavens opened and threw down drop upon drop of water.
There's no way of knowing, he doesn't talk much these days.
The town works in shifts; Six days a week, eight people will visit him, an hour each. He spends the rest of his day sleeping.
When we want the sun we will read him happy stories. When we want a warm glow we speak to him of our love endeavours. When we need the rain for our reservoirs we have no choice but to miss a few shifts because no one has the heart to watch him cry.
He doesn't respond physically any more, we have to read the weather in order to read him.
On Sundays we leave himself to himself because of his religion. He takes the day off to thank God for his gift.
So every Sunday we sit in our houses because we're scared to leave; no one wants to feel that it's gotten that little bit colder. We dread the uncertainty of what will happen without our weather man.
My shift is on a Monday morning, I'm telling you this story on my walk over to his house. Every week I knock on his door three times then place the key from under the doormat into the lock, then turn and enter.
There he is, the Weather Man sitting in his chair waiting for his morning story. I smile relieved that he's still okay.
“Hello Wilfred, I have a great story for you today.”
I open the curtains and edge closer to him. I pull up a chair and I begin reading him his own story. Or as much of it as I could make up of all the rumours around town.
He sits in his armchair and listens. Unaware of whether or not I should continue I look out the window and see rays out light emerge from between the clouds. He smiles at me, takes my hand and squeezes it slightly. I know now to continue so I do.
I finish the last line of the story as I hear a knock on the door; my hour's up. I look into his eyes and thank him for another beautiful day, he smiles again and on the window I hear the sound of soft rain hitting it and sliding down to form a puddle on the windowsill. I turn back to him to see a single tear from his closed eyes running down his cheek and pooling into the dimples from his smile.
I let the next reader in and begin my walk home. The rain bounces off my coat and settles into tiny bubbles, I reach out a hand to let it fall into my hand but as I pull my hand back in towards me to inspect I see not a bubble, but a tiny delicate snowflake.
It's snowing for the first time this town has seen in years.
I run back towards the house and look through the window to see the other reader on the phone. All I can hear through the window is “come quick... please... no pulse...” I switch my gaze over to the weather man who is sitting where I left him, the smile still on his face.
He looks peaceful.
I walk away from the house with a similar smile on my face, back towards my house with my bags packed and waiting for me in the hallway. I pick them up and start walking to the edge of town, towards my new life. Away from the town that will now forever snow.
Away from the town with the frozen architecture and the frozen hearted people who will always live in the memories of the sun and the man who will forever brighten their days.

And with this i give you a weather forecast.

Saturday, 26 December 2009

... a love affair.

This is a very short story i wrote earlier today called:
Here today, gone tomorrow

Today, the headlines are about a man who is involved in a 'Love Affair' with God.
A love affair he claims to be completely monogamous.
He says “this is the way we're meant to live”.
“The way we were always meant to live.”
He claims that he is a good man with so much to give; a loyal man who couldn't betray his love for anything.
He would die for them and from what everyone can tell he means it.
He'll be metaphorically crucified for this. Just how God likes the ones he loves.
“We're not meant to love other human beings. By loving other humans we are becoming mere animals. A man who can't control himself is nothing more than a ruthless dog.”
Now this hit a raw nerve with the audience. He better start explaining himself before us lovers become fighters and form a pack.
“Think about what love turns us into. It turns us into a holy-law-breaking machine.”
Now this is getting interesting.
He says that “Love is connected to every sin.”
“Love starts with lust. The physical attraction is enough to send us straight to hell”
Physical attraction comes down to so many different things; the smell of natural pheromones, perhaps in the similarity of how we look. Science makes us believe we can't help falling in love.
Without science we'd all be believers but now with it we're all going to hell. Now raise your hand if you have a few bitter feelings towards science.
“Next comes gluttony and extravagance. It has become common practise to woo your interest with food and gifts.”
Then of course comes pride, swiftly followed by sloth, with envy and greed walking hand in hand closely behind.
“Last comes wrath with envy sometimes making a guest re appearance.”
He asks the reporter “Do you see what I am saying? God is the only one we can love without violating sins. We have these urges because we are meant to love but He puts in the restrictions so that it is not possible.”
Our eyebrows raised and our pupils dilating. We're taking this in. We're listening.
“If God doesn't love us then no one would. The world was made with every living cell doomed to live life alone.
He has made it so He is he only one we are allowed to love.”
We understand “I would rather love God than no one.” But we feel as though we shouldn't.
“But don't pity me. I am much better off for it.”
The reporter then asks the man why he would offer to hang himself up to dry by revealing his love.
And the man answers “Because love makes us do strange things.”
“I want people to listen to me not because I feel I am better than them but because I am better off than them.”
The audience begins to hold their breath as they know what is coming next.
“I just want you all to be forgiven, for you know not what you do.”
And it's then that the audience sits in awe.
Whether or not what they have just read are the ramblings of a guy who's lost his mind or the ultimate betrayed son who gave his life; they listen.
Just in case.
Because no one wants to screw up their second chance at love.

And with this i give you a love affair.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

... a cogitation on cognition.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" Santayana

I've always loved the word cognition; the process of thought. Never before had a word struck with such an intense and vivid imagery of it's meaning. Thought, being such a human process could not be defined in more of a mechanical, cold word such as the word in question. It is the thorn in the side of robotics that hinders artificial intelligence; without an individual thought process, what defines us as physical beings? No one is the same, with different reasoning, logic and drive; whether or not it comes down to the simple factor of good versus evil, love versus money and so on. As emotionally complex as the human brain is, the word cognition reduces it to the simple imagery of the human brain as a machine.

For the sake of easy reading I shall personify machinery in the following summary; Just as machinery becomes obsolete, the human brain dies and to similar form, machinery surpasses itself and upgrades as the human race reproduces; this is in direct correlation with the evolution of man.

It is the machine that lacks the ability to do anything other than it's primary function; so with this logic it is up to us as an individual being to decide what our function, or our drive, is. Experience is the path that leads us to discover what our drives are, and it is the routes we take on that path that determine what our drives become. They are not pre determined and they are not genetic; if anything, they are social.

So how can we define the difference between a malfunction and a harmful psychological disorder? Why must the machine be punished when we are the creators and therefore to blame for our broken design? In some sense, we should applaud the machine for its mistake as it is a sign that tells us that it is not complete; there is more work to be done in order to perfect it. It is these signs that tell us how the incomplete man will always strive until there is no where left to go but destruction out of desperation – just as a broken machine will continue to churn, unaware of its malfunction. So with this hypothesis, the question of 'man driven by machine' versus the 'machine driven by man' surfaces.

And with this i give you a cogitation on cognition.

... a video diary of a schizophrenic.

A music video for 'Numb' by Portishead made by a friend and I last year. I hope you enjoy watching it as much as we loathed making it.

And with this i give you a video diary of a schizophrenic.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

... a story of the unreachable.

So my friend had written half of a story a year back but never got around to finishing it. But when informed of my aspirations he asked if I would like an attempt at finishing it. So here is the finished effort. I have marked where he ends and I begin.

One day an artist was painting, he painted until he came to the stark revelation he had finished. And when he finished he stood taken away by what he had created. He knew at first glance it was the most beautiful thing ever painted so he put down his brushes and told the world "this is the most beautiful thing ever painted."

And humanity looked and agreed, and all the other artists put down their brushes. Why paint when the most beautiful picture has already been created?

Done with painting, they started composing and singing and writing music until one day they stopped--they had created the most beautiful composition ever heard.

And humanity heard and agreed, and so they all put down their instruments, what's the point of music if they can just listen to this piece in it's perfection?

Done with music they started acting--seeking to convey their emotions in the most eloquent form possible until one day the director stopped and said--"We've just created the most beautiful act ever.", and so they played it out for the world.

And humanity watched and agreed, and so they all quit acting. What's the point if these people have already perfected it? “Why we will just watch” they spoke.

Out of all this, they decided they only needed buildings to watch, listen, and look at these perfections. And so they called a master architect, and they told him, "You must create the most beautiful building for us to use". When he had finished, he didn't need to tell him it was the most beautiful building ever designed, they presumed.

And so they sat. No one did anything. They watched. As time moved on, various new media for them to watch arose and they watched in many different ways--but it was all they did. Society didn't want any more. No artists tried to create beauty or convey the messages in their hearts, they felt they couldn't compete; no musicians played their instruments or sung, nor composed symphonies, nor even tapped out a beat--and thus they lost their rhythm so no one even danced; no one sought out to convey their feelings through acting, they didn't even attempt to express their feelings to their loved ones, they felt numb as they couldn't express their love as well as the beautiful actors; and they all sat in shacks no more cosy homes, apartments, mansions, condos, nothing as all the architects felt no need to design buildings when the most perfect building had already been erected.

But critics arose, and they said to the people "These can't be perfect, there must be better!", but the people wouldn't hear it. Eventually, these remarks were taken offensively--and all the critics were slaughtered. One critique was heralded however, the critique that no writer had comprised the perfect story. And so the people took the youth of this perfect society to find the perfect writer, and found the most qualified writer they could.

The Writer had many ideas, but as a youth of the perfect society he decided he'd be able to quickly write the perfect story through the consistence of all things already perfected. To do this, he decided, he would need to talk to all those who had created perfection, and so he went to The Building where they all resided to speak with them.

To start of unifying these arts, he figured he'd begin with The Painter. So he walked to the building and when he saw a desk with a lady behind it wearing a name tag reading 'Mrs. Soothsayer', so he asked, "Hello, Mrs. Soothsayer, do you know as to where I could find The Painter?", and she responded aptly, "I can tell you where to find The Painter, who will tell you where to find the The Musician, who will tell you where to find The Director, who will tell you where to find The Architect but I must warn you first: there is no where to go but up from here."

So The Writer went off to the floor and room she had given him.

(Where he ends and I begin)

Here, he found not the painter, but the musician. The writer questioned the perfection of the building that did not hold its tenants where they were supposed to be. But he felt no need to move on from the musician in search of the painter until he had heard of this man's equation to perfection. So he asked of the inspiration for the piece to which the musician replied quite simply; “The Painter's art.” With this answer, the Writer did not feel that the Musician knew what it was to perfect something, so he asked if he knew where he could find the painter; “The Director knows of his whereabouts.”

So off went the Writer in search of the Director who was to blame for the loss of self expression. He was in the room that the Musician had spoke of, directly one floor above his own. When asked of the inspiration to his act, the Director said “By listening to the most perfect piece of music ever created I could see my act unravel in my head.” It was then that the Writer asked how the Director felt, knowing that he had caused physical indifference. However the Director disagreed and responded with what he thought was the answer; “When people complain that time moves too fast, that we have no choices, they think of us. Perfection gives us a reason to stand still. It stuns us into stopping and looking at the world around us; we can reflect.” The Writer thought that the word reflect in that sentence was more appropriate than the Director would ever know.

From talking to the Director and the Musician, the Writer realised that their work was no more of a perfection that it was of a recreation. A plagiarism. He knew that he would not find the answer in the disciples, only in the teacher would he find his equation that could create his new perfection. So he asked the Director where he would find the Painter; “Only the Architect knows which room the Painter resides in and he is in another floor above.”

The Architect was different from the other two. He was the closest to success as he was the last person to have left it behind him in his past. He had a clearer memory of how he had gotten where he was and he was more tainted by his perfection. He spoke of his building with little care; “They called upon me to create this beauty. It was already decided that it would be perfection in its largest form yet. I acknowledge the fact that I had a hand in this misery and for this I am filled with sorrow and hatred; self pity that I have to live in my mistake. But it's hatred for the Painter that keeps me going. Step up to the floor above, that is where I built his room. He will tell you what it is that makes perfection.” and with that, the Architect handed him a key.

So the writer walked up the next flight of stairs, up to the top floor of the building. He slid the key into the lock and turned. He was about to come face to face with the man who created perfection. He twisted the handle and pushed the door open, not to see the painter, but himself. On the opposite wall was a mirror from floor to ceiling. Corner to Corner. He walked into the room and then into the next; a second room completely covered in mirrors. But this time there was another man who joined him in his reflections; The Painter. He stood by a single window that reached from floor to ceiling, that overlooked the entire city, he turned to look at the Writer and in a monotone voice said “I know why you're here. Do you know why I am here?” The writer replied with what he knew was the answer. “Because everything that became perfection after your painting was just a recreation of your work. You started this.”

The Painter nodded and turned back towards the window. He spoke softly, the kind of softness that could only come at the end of long hours of contemplation. “If something is beyond our grasp it will seem superior to what we have. We will take everything that is made; songs, stories, plays and we will try to relate to the situation because this is what we need to enjoy something. We need to feel. However people cannot relate to perfection because it is not within our reach.” The Painter then lifted his hand and motioned towards the fabled painting that had started the Writers quest. The perfected painting. No one knew what it was of, it was just an array of colours that were so stunning it made you stand still, like the Director had said it would. The Painter turned away again and began to speak. “The painting isn't of anything, it cannot be related to in any way. It is difficult to describe what makes this painting so beautiful. The understanding is beyond our reach, we are just like moths to the flame. When I finished this painting, I believed in its beauty so much that I had the nerve to call it perfection. It wasn't something that had been done before so it was easy; if you create the definition then you make up the rules.” The Painter opened the window and a cool breeze swept in. “I am to blame for the downfall of this city. If there was no limit then people would keep climbing. But I set that limit and I now sit at the top observing myself being reflected over and over again either when I look into the mirrors or down onto the city. There is no where to go but down from here.” He turned to the Writer, smiled and said “Perfection isn't everything.” Then took one step forward and fell to his death.

So the Writer knew what to do. He sat down and wrote his story in the room that showed a 100 replicas of him. Every single mirror showing a perfect forgery of him. He wrote the story of how the Painter had thought he had found perfection and how in turn the Musician, the Director and the Architect had made the same mistake. But in fact the Painter had only found what he thought to be perfection and the mistake that the city had made was to believe him because they themselves did not know the meaning of it. The Writer wrote of how perfection is actually in the eyes of the onlooker. That every person has a different definition of beauty. How every person must try to find their definition as one day they will die like the Painter had, his definition left behind in his painting. Every person owes it to themselves to leave behind their one little piece of perfection.

And with this piece the Writer had created his. The last recreation of the Painter that would come from his city. With the Painter and his perfection at the bottom, sprawled out on the street with broken bones and his blood seeping into a wider and wider puddle, the only way to go from here was up.

And so the city climbed.

And with this I give you a story of the unreachable.

... a thought to ponder.

I find it intriguing how when you're a kid, you go to ridiculous lengths to hide your diary. For example, putting it in a box, inside another box then under your mattress (it wouldn't take a princess to know it was under there). Yet here i am, posting what is very similar to a diary, online, where anyone can read it if they wish to do so, except now, no one really cares. My brother would pick open the padlock on my diary with a pair of scissors just to read my embarrassing ramblings yet i couldn't make him read this if i handed it to him on a plate with a lavish garnish of red money. This is where that story of 'wanting what you can't have' pops up or in this case 'reading what you can't know.'

Interfering people should be more appreciated than they are.

And with this i give you a thought to ponder.